Do people stop and notice when you begin speaking? Do you have the ability to command a room? If you do, then you have executive presence. If you're not sure, then chances are you don't. How do you cultivate this important yet elusive trait?
According to Linda Descano, President and CEO, of Women & Co, executive presence begins with "how we see ourselves from the inside out, how we wish to be seen and thought of, and how we build perception." Here are 11 questions from Descano's group that will help you assess your executive presence. Take your time to consider your responses carefully. Honest self-awareness is a key component of leadership development.
- When I speak, do I convey confidence with my voice, gestures, language, diction, and facial expression? Do I speak clearly and communicate directly, with confidence?
- Does my body language—my gestures and my movements—project strength and assert credibility?
- Does my appearance—wardrobe, clothes, jewelry, hair, and makeup —exude the sophistication and polish of a C-suite executive?
- When I enter a room, do people notice me or do I make myself small and quietly blend in? Do I envision myself as the guest of honor, taking the stage, being warmly received? Do I embrace others with humility and kindness?
- When someone new enters a room, do I immediately rise, extend my hand, and confidently approach new people to introduce myself or make group introductions?
- Do I have enough confidence to listen more than I speak, share the floor, and share the credit, to acknowledge the presence and contribution of others?
- Do I take the time to connect with people on a personal level before moving onto my agenda? Do I link success to values and ideals?
- Am I always prepared and willing to start or engage in conversation on current events, company issues, or specific projects?
- When asked, “How are you/how are things going?”, do I respond with interesting, positive professional information or news?
- Do I always have an opinion, and speak directly and concisely, getting right to my point without rambling or digressing unnecessarily? Do people seem to listen when I speak and respect what I say?
- Am I careful to avoid disclaimers such as “I’m no expert/It’s just my opinion” or the reflexive use of the phrase “I’m sorry” when I am not at fault?
If yo'd like a PDF of this assessment, click here.